27 February 2010

Fish and Chips

This month I've seen Kale Chip postings all over the blogosphere at places such as Not Martha, Gluten Free Girl and The Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen so I HAD to try them. We've been trying to incorporate more nutrient dense foods into our diets and Kale is one we've cooked with beans and loved. Emi and I rinsed off our kale, cut out the ribs and chopped the leaves into smaller "chips" and patiently dried them with paper towels before rubbing them with olive oil and baking for 15 minutes at 300 degrees. We salted them immediately out of the oven and munched the first batch while waiting for the Chilean Sea Bass to finish baking. One head of Kale satisfied the 3 of us. I'm sorry I don't have pictures but the other sites listed about have some really pretty photos of the finished product.

23 February 2010

Singalong Junk

I would LOVE for my husband and daughter to play this song for me sometime:

We bought this CD 4 years ago when we were in NY trying to adopt a sister for Emi. We named the baby girl "McCartney" and when we brought her back home we were surprised to see the cover of our new CD and the inside flap photo. We planned to get a picture of Scott (with his beard that he'd grown while we were in NY) and the baby for the birth announcements, but the baby ended up going back to NY with her birth father.

Extreme Pride

I can't extol enough my little girl's recent accomplishments. She is not a shy little wallflower, that child, but at times, she can be really obstinate. I mean, strong willed. Have known that from the get go, and love that she doesn't take things at face value. But I can't lie...things go much better for us when she is BEHIND the thing that we want her to do. i.e. often time she whines about practicing the piano (she's been in piano for 3 years), but when we ask her if she'd like to stop piano lessons, she most certainly does not. She LOVES music and singing and playing the piano.

So last weekend her studio had their recital at the University. On STAGE with all of the other student's families and friends eyeballing her! Whereas I, her fraidy cat 40 year old mom would be unconscious, absent or projectile vomiting, she acknowledges that she's nervous and still wants to get on stage to entertain the crowd. When she started playing her song, she enthusiastically played (forte, right?) the first few notes from the wrong song. Instead of packing up her book and fleeing the stage, she laughed at herself, focused and began playing the right song...really well. So proud of her!

Earlier that day her basketball team had their first game of the season. They got skunked by this team (who I'm told has been together for 4 years!), 36-0. It was one of those hard to watch games with the grandparents yelling at the ref to give the kids a break while the parents are consoling each other and speculating on whether the taller 3 girls are over the age limit, etc, etc, etc. Emi didn't let that bum her out, she had fun and yes, it sucks to lose, but she and her team played well. This is the 2nd season they'd played together and the 2 star seasoned players they had last season, moved up (as I suspect those 3 girls on the opposing team should have) so they are just learning to be a team.

Fast forward 6 days to the 2nd basketball game. Sitting there in the stands (I know, that sounds weird to me too!) before the game Scott commented that he should have worked with Emi more on shooting. We worry that the girls will have their butts handed to them again and secretly size up the opponents. This is a new team and their male coaches are in suits and carrying clipboards. What is this the WNBA? Our lady coach leads our team by herself...she signed up last season to help and ended up becoming the coach. She gives the girls their pep talk after they warm up and the game begins. This new team isn't as skilled but they are hungry and they are the first to score a point. We get a little nervous but then our sweet little girl ("Baby Shaq" one player's daddy has dubbed her) gets the ball and tries to score: she shoots, she misses, she rebounds 4 more times until she finally scores! The crowd goes wild (ok so we were already a little wild). When my little girl looked up at us in the stands we definitely saw the eye of the tiger. This sort of behavior happened several more times and Scott told me that she got a "double-double" (double digit points and assists). Wow!

And to top it off, she scored the last point at the buzzer! My daughter rawks! On the way home from the game she talked about getting a scholarship in basketball. Now you're talking!

21 February 2010

World Thinking Day 2010

Emi's troop participated in World Thinking Day 2010. We represented Peru and the girls looked so adorable in their hats! 500 girls in the high school gym trying to visit each country's booth, sample the wares and get their "passports" stamped was quite a feat. The noise was deafening at times. Our booth was a very popular booth because we were giving out samples (shots) of Inca Kola which is fortified with much sugar and caffeine.

Emi stamping another scout's passport..

It was a long weekend of scouting activities (not to mention family visits)...more pics posted here.

20 February 2010

Cookie Commitment

Emi and I hung out in front of Hastings and sold Girl Scout cookies for 3 hours. It was cold and misting the whole time but we are about 100 boxes closer to our goal and our feet DID finally thaw out...(bright side)

19 February 2010

Hair Did

I let Emi help me decide on a new hair style. She said she wanted me to cut my hair short like her friend Brooklyn's hair. I agreed after I found a really cool Japanese "medium" length hair style. Long bangs and messy. I really love the new do!

16 February 2010

Princess Amygdala

I was reading an article about sleep deprivation today and while I know I do not get the required amount of sleep daily and haven't for some time, I was amazed at how the relationship between sleep and hormones and emotions and appetite were linked.

The 5 signs were (from the MSN Health and Fitness article "5 Surprising Signs You're Sleep Deprived"

1. You're flummoxed by even simple decisions (check)
2. You've been eating all day, and you're still hungry! (CHECK)
3. You keep coming down with colds (check - I presently have a head cold!)
4. The ballads on American Idol move you to tears (check - Emi pointed out last week that I cry when anyone sings...)
5. You've become a klutz (check... wait, I have ALWAYS been a klutz!)

"Don't automatically chalk up your sudden weepiness to PMS: Without sleep, you are more emotionally volatile. In one brain-imaging study, for example, people who missed a night of sleep and viewed disturbing images had 60 percent more activity in the amygdala, which is involved in processing fear and anxiety, compared with better-rested volunteers. The study also found that the sleepy volunteers' amygdala communicated less with the part of the brain that determines appropriate emotional responses, suggesting that they weren't doing a good job of tempering their emotions."

Uh-huh. This explains a lot. I am not going crazy (as far as we know) and all I need is to get 7-8 hrs sleep religiously and we will all be one happy family. I am willing to give it a try.

14 February 2010

12 February 2010

I was THERE!

We were watching American Idol's group week last night and all I kept thinking while watching the groups practice is I WAS THERE!

Kissing Keanu

They were staying at and practicing in the hotel I stayed at 4 years ago for a conference. The camera man would zoom in on a group fighting over the choreography and I'm looking to see if that's where we had the e-mail kiosks set up that year. When they kept showing the big guy on the balcony listening to his wife deliver their first child, I was straining to see the mall BEHIND him. I'll tell you what, that made this episode of AI much more tolerable...

Oh just casually posing in my conference bowling shirt by the pool...

11 February 2010

Culinary Napalm

So last week I mentioned that we made home made caramel sauce and the kids and adults alike LOVED it. I mentioned also that I burned my thumb "a little". I might have understated that a bit. I was swirling the hot melted sugar in the pan and when I added the butter, a tiny splatter of the sweet lava splatted onto my thumb. This culinary napalm burned deeply enough to turn my thumb meat white in a spot...well done you might say. I rinsed it as soon as I could (I didn't want to ruin the caramel at such a crucial juncture) and I applied ice because it hurt like HELL! A blister formed and broke and I have changed the band aid many times over the course of the week. The first band aid I applied actually ripped the blister apart. I have used Neosporin and Aloe Vera gel to aid in healing and keep infection at bay. I hope I don't have any nerve damage...

09 February 2010

Not the Stork

Lately we've been struggling with how/when to talk to our 7 year old about her Birth Father (BF) and the Birds and the Bees. It's been something we've worried about for years. We aren't upset about teaching our daughter about sex. And we want her to be able to talk to us about ANYthing and EVERYthing. It's just that when we DO talk about her conception she will no doubt have questions about her BF. We have covered her birth a lot and she actually knows her Birth Mom (BM) and sisters and extended family, so YEA for that!!! She's never asked about him and we've never mentioned him because he chose to not have contact with us. [Note: He has our information and knows how to check on her and the door is always open for him and his family.]

Our concern is that she will feel rejected when all the information snaps into place. That thought has kept me awake some nights. Today I found a picture of BF online and it was an emotional experience for both Scott and I to see our daughter's eyes, nose and forehead on a complete stranger.

Her birth story begins with us. We met her Birth Mom 16 days before she was born. She had 2 daughters at home and couldn't care for another child so she visited the adoption agency and picked us to raise her baby. We explained that God brought us all together. We talk about her BM going into labor and us being nervous in the delivery room and trying to figure out a name for a boy just in case (because we didn't know if she was a boy or a girl!!) [Note: The name "Emmitt" was actually on the table before "EMI" came out!]. She knows Daddy cut her umbilical cord and then we brought her home the next day. She knows we freaked out at being responsible for a little baby. She knows she slept on my chest while I worked from home for 3 mos. All good details that she loves to hear about...and that put a smile on her face. She is LOVED and she knows it and she feels it from her birth family and her adopted family as well as many of our friends and people who hear our story.

My point is: Emi knows a LOT about adoption. She has a friend at school who is adopted (she's black and her adoptive parents are white) so it's not a foreign concept at all. We've read books about adoption and fielded questions from long ago preschoolers who wondered why her skin was black and mine was not. And we even experienced a failed adoption 4 years ago....but once again, in that attempt, we only dealt with the Birth Mom side of the family. Of course Emi does know that her almost sister is with her Birth Father so this concept is something she is familiar with even if we've not discussed it. She seems to feel quite comfortable in talking about adoption and her Birth Mom and also brags to her friends that she has 2 sisters, and another who died when she was a baby. We visit her BM and her sisters and the term "Birth Father" doesn't come up (to our knowledge) because her sisters' BF is not around.

All signs are pointing to us to broach the subject of BF and the "Birds/Bees Lite" discussion with her soon so that she can develop properly into a mature, loving young woman with high self-esteem. One major sign has been Emi's size. She's a big girl (tallest in her class) who will probably be an early bloomer (according to her pediatrician). So last month I was talking with her BM and told her that Emi's ped thinks she will hit puberty within the next 2 years (God help me) and that one effect of early puberty was that growing tall stops when menstruation begins (I know ALL about that!) and that Emi will probably only be about as tall as me (I don't know about THAT!). We were discussing this in the room where Emi and her sisters were playing, and her BM said that she thought Emi would be taller because her "daddy" and his family are tall. Emi didn't acknowledge this comment but I am sure she heard. Not sure what she thought of it. Maybe she thought her BM was talking about Scott. Later on I told her BM of our concerns about Emi feeling rejected and that we might have her answer some questions that Emi will have because we don't know many details of the BF. I am soooooooo glad that we are close to Emi's birth mom because she can see her sisters and extended family and know her roots and heritage.

So I figured that we should probably have a book on hand to reference and give us the[Editor's note: Why is IT that "consternation" was the first word that came to mind here and when I look it up it's SO not what I want(ed)? a sudden, alarming amazement or dread that results in utter confusion; dismay.] fortitude [–noun mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger, or temptation courageously] we need. Or maybe something to look at so that she doesn't see the tears in our eyes. Dr. Google pointed me to Amazon.com for some good "birds/bees" books and when I went to purchase the first (I will probably get two minimum.) the books on the suggestion page were a little surprising. (Click the image below and look at the bottom center suggested book.)

What do you think? [Not sure we are ready to discuss sex AND drugs at the same time!]

I ended up purchasing It's Not the Stork: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends and The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls and A Wrinkle in Time. That last book was not related to the topic at hand but it came recommended by another Syster last year for recommended reading for little girls.

06 February 2010

I Can't Wait (but I did)

So we finally had that Girl Scout meeting to learn about Peruvian culture and prepare for World Thinking Day 2010. I showed the girls how to make a traditional Peruvian Cebiche and we roasted Cancha (Canchita?) Corn.

The girls sampled (and re-sampled) Inca Kola. We watched a video about Peru and each girl perused Peruvian books to find out the capital, the population and also a bit about poverty in Peru. This year the theme for WTD focuses on ending poverty and hunger.
Also, my new shoes (not to be confused with Nu Shooz which is also a good thing) were delivered today!
I think I'm in LOVE!

Car-a-mel Sauce

Jar of Yumminess
Last weekend I tried to make a caramel sauce with only water and sugar and it was a big FAIL. Probably because it was a base for Caramel PUDDING and I didn't want to make the pudding and I should have researched it a bit more. I got smart this week and located a super easy delectable sounding recipe for Caramel Sauce at Simply Recipes and made the most decadent caramel I've ever tasted. And I only burned my thumb a little in the process. I think all of the kids in the house enjoyed it. That was last night and this morning when I tested the taste and consistency I was amazed. So good! So good!

Emi Saucing It Up


So Yummy

02 February 2010

Eagle IRIS

Snow Day
So this past week has been kind of Cabin Feverish for those of us living in Central Oklahoma. Last week we were hit with an Ice Storm followed by several beautiful inches of snow and it was a veritable winter wonderland here. Thursday and Friday were snow days for us. The 4 day weekend was welcomed with open arms. We all were fine with work and school being canceled but when our scout meeting was canceled and also Emi's first basketball game, that made us all a little anxious. We'd already taken advantage of the down time to catch up on DVR'd stuff, read, reorganize the basement & garage, deep clean the bathrooms, shred and purge several boxes of records, play some board games, etc. We were ready for some outside contact! So we tried to integrate back into society on Sunday by going to church and then Home Depot. That kept us from going completely stir crazy (that and FaceBook I should say), but later that night (around 6ish) we got word from IRIS (automated alert system that calls/emails us) that school was canceled for our district because the roads were still bad for bus travel. Okee! That was unexpected because the roads in town were clear. I had to get on FaceBook to check with fellow parents in my district to make sure we weren't getting Punk'd.

Scott took one for the team and stayed home with Emi on Monday and I was G-L-A-D to get back into the swing of things back at the office. So, Monday night was a real nailbiter as we kept seeing neighboring districts canceling school for Tuesday due to Freezing Fog (yipes!) and icy roads. At this point fellow parents were simultaneously volunteering to drive out to pick up kids in the rural areas and fantasizing about run-ins with the school superintendent if he should decide to cancel school on Tuesday and sometime after 8 PM (!) IRIS called us to let us know that school was canceled again (4 days!)!!! Scott and I were starting to wonder if IRIS had taken on a life of her own a la Eagle Eye.
I took time off today to hang with Emi and I have been praying all day that school will be in session tomorrow. I heard a rumor from another mom that school might be out until THURSDAY! I want to believe that I will be taking my daughter to school tomorrow morning because IRIS in fact has NOT called yet, but there is still the element of surprise with an early morning cancelation.

Two years ago much of Norman was without power for a week and we were more sympathetic to school's being closed. But this extended break seemed a bit overmuch. And according to the 4Warn team we are to expect a "winter mix" Thursday and another winter storm on Monday. Please don't let IRIS know!